Vinod Mehta, journalist and founder editor-in-chief of the Out- look magazine, passed away on 8 March 2015 at the age of 73.
He will be remembered for having published investigative pieces and articles on subjects that most other publications would have considered untouchable and taboo.
Reporters and authors who have worked with him point out that he stood by the articles he published, and gave freedom to them to express their opinions without forcing them to modify their writing in order to make articles more ‘acceptable’ to the powers-that-be.
Vinod Mehta published several of Arundhati Roy’s essays – articles which have ruthlessly shone a highly critical light on existing state policy on many issues, including the hanging of Afzal Guru and India’s nuclear tests.
Under Vinod Mehta’s editorship, Outlook published the Radia tapes, exposing the dangerous nexus between politicians, journalists and corporations. Many of the media ‘community’ were angered that Mehta exposed high-ups in his own community.
The Radia tapes expose highlighted the manner in which corporate bodies influence decision-making by politicians with the help of journalists and lobbyists. At a time when the corporate media increasingly appears to be unwilling to perform even the basic and fundamental duties of journalism – well-researched, factual and unbiased reporting – and at a time when reportage often resembles press releases issued by the public relations offices of the government or corporate houses, editors like Vinod Mehta will indeed be missed.